Higher costs and greater gains 3

December 20, 2002

Students do not buy an education. They work to get a degree. To get good degrees, they work hard and are out of the labour market. Graduates may get high salaries, but this is because employers pay them more because they, and society, get value out of them.

Student fees do more than buy a place. They sustain a university community that can do far greater public good than any individual. They invent. If a university found an Aids cure, that would do more to save the world than all the student fees put together. Consider the horrendous social costs of too few graduates and lower education standards. We already have shortages of doctors and other qualified people. How many accidents are caused by ignorance?

To focus on individuals mistakenly presents as selfish the important public benefit graduates contribute to society.

Harold Thimbleby
University College London
and Gresham College

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